Pacific Notes: Batum, LeBron, Hachimura, Christie, Warriors

Rumors that Nicolas Batum may be entering his final NBA season swirled in August following a series of tweets from his wife, Aurelie. She clarified in those tweets that her husband hasn’t formally decided to retire following the 2023/24 season and that his future beyond his current contract is still up in the air. This week at training camp, the Clippers forward confirmed that message, as Janis Carr of The Orange County Register writes.

“I think I’ve done a lot in the NBA,” Batum said. “I’m trying to focus on this season. We’ll see what happens after this season. Maybe I’m going to stay, maybe not. I don’t know yet.

“… (I’m) thinking about what I’ve got left. All I’m thinking right now is I’m just ready for this year. … I’m really excited for this year and what’s ahead for this franchise, that’s for sure.”

Batum averaged 21.9 minutes per night in 78 appearances for the Clippers last season, his most games played in a season since 2013/14. The veteran anticipates having a rotation role again this season and indicated a willingness to play as much as head coach Tyronn Lue wants to use him, even though he’ll turn 35 in December.

“A bunch of guys want to get like minutes, and they don’t get it. I’m playing, so I’m not complaining about it,” Batum said. “You can’t be tired and complain because you play too much when guys only want opportunities to play.”

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • No player was around LeBron James this offseason more than Rui Hachimura, according to LeBron, who has taken his Lakers teammate under his wing this offseason in the hopes of unlocking his full potential, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. James, the NBA’s oldest player, will sit out the team’s preseason opener on Saturday as the club manages his minutes, though he still plans to see plenty of action during the preseason, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
  • Lakers guard Max Christie, who was expected to be given a chance to prove in training camp that he deserves a rotation spot, appears to be taking advantage of that opportunity, earning praise this week from coach Darvin Ham and his teammates, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “Max Christie is a dog! … His game surprised me a lot,” big man Jaxson Hayes said of Christie. “I already knew he was a good player, but he can really go.”
  • Warriors wing Klay Thompson said on Thursday that he’s up to the challenge of defending some power forwards this season and will do whatever’s asked of him (Twitter video link via Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area). Head coach Steve Kerr spoke about that plan earlier in the week.
  • Stephen Curry said he played a lot of pickup ball with new Warriors teammate Chris Paul this summer and believes the fit on offense will be “seamless” (Twitter video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). The goal will be making sure the pairing works on defense as well.
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